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Indian Heritage & Culture

Traditional New Year Festivals

  • 15 Apr 2022
  • 5 min read

For Prelims: Vaisakhi, Vishu, Naba Barsha, Vaisakhadi and Puthandu-Pirappu and Bohag Bihu.

For Mains: Traditional New Year Festivals.

Why in News?

The President of India has greeted people on the eve of Chaitra Shukladi, Gudi Padwa, Ugadi, Cheti Chand, Vaisakhi, Vishu, Naba Barsha, Vaisakhadi and Puthandu-Pirappu and Bohag Bihu.

What are the Traditional New Year Festivals?

  • Vaishakhi:
    • It is also pronounced as Baisakhi, observed by Hindus and Sikhs.
    • It marks the beginning of Hindu Solar New year.
    • It commemorates the formation of Khalsa panth of warriors under Guru Gobind Singh in 1699.
    • Baisakhi was also the day when colonial British empire officials committed the Jallianwala Bagh massacre at a gathering, an event influential to the Indian movement against colonial rule.
  • Vishu:
    • It is a Hindu festival celebrated in the Indian state of Kerala, Tulu Nadu region in Karnataka, Mahé district of Union Territory of Pondicherry, neighbouring areas of Tamil Nadu and their diaspora communities.
    • The festival marks the first day of Medam, the ninth month in the solar calendar in Kerala.
    • It therefore always falls in the middle of April in the Gregorian calendar on 14th or 15th April every year.
  • Puthandu:
    • Also known as Puthuvarudam or Tamil New Year, is the first day of the year on the Tamil calendar and traditionally celebrated as a festival.
    • The festival date is set with the solar cycle of the lunisolar Hindu calendar, as the first day of the Tamil month Chithirai.
    • It therefore falls on or about 14th April every year on the Gregorian calendar.
  • Bohag Bihu:
    • Bohag Bihu or Rongali Bihu also called Xaat Bihu (seven Bihus) is a traditional aboriginal ethnic festival celebrated in the state of Assam and other parts of northeastern India by the indigenous ethnic groups of Assam.
    • It marks the beginning of the Assamese New Year.
    • It usually falls in the 2nd week of April, historically signifying the time of harvest.
  • Naba Barsha:
    • Naba Barsha is the celebration of the new year in West Bengal as per the Bengali Calendar.
    • It is also popularly known as the PoilaBaisakh which literally translates to first Baisakhi (a month in the lunisolar calendar of the Bengalis).
      • The people of Bengal come together and celebrate this new year in their own way by making it loud and magical like every other Bengali festival.
    • The festival is celebrated by all castes and religions all across Bengal.
    • After Durga Pooja, this is the second most hyped festival in Bengal, this festival connects the people of Bengal, especially the Bengalis who are originally Hindu.

UPSC Civil Services Examination, Previous Year Questions (PYQs)

Q. Consider the following pairs: (2018)

       Tradition                     State

  1. Chapchar Kut festival —    Mizoram
  2. Khongjom Parba ballad — Manipur
  3. Thang-Ta dance —            Sikkim

Which of the pairs given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only
(b) 1 and 2 only
(c) 3 only
(d) 2 and 3 only

Ans: (b)

  • Chapchar Kut is one of the oldest festivals of Mizoram and has a great cultural significance.
  • Khongjom Parba is a style of ballad singing from Manipur using Dholak (drum) which depicts stories of heroic battle fought by Manipuris against the British Empire in 1891.
  • Thang-Ta is a popular term for the ancient Manipuri martial art known as Huyen Lallong. Thang-Ta is a sword and spear dance where ‘Thang’ means ‘sword’ and ‘Ta’ means ‘spear’.

Source: PIB

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